My game of the month for November is going to be so hard to choose. Contenders so far, T.I.M.E. Stories, Kemet, Cry Havoc, and the subject of today’s post and Saturdays gaming session, Scythe.
Saturday saw me playing Scythe with Jeff. I’d had a small piece of luck that morning when the metal coins for the game turned up in the post.
First off the game is beautiful. The art is amazing, and I have to admit I’m so tempted to try and get the art book now. The quality of everything else with the game is also really good. There is a lot of attention paid to details, such as little cut outs on player boards to keep cubes etc in place, and to show where they go.
You get two little containers for the wooden tokens. Now I prefer the wooden tokens to the realistic ones you can buy. Plus the board is doubled sided, with the second side being a larger board. So less crowded, but needs the board expansion too to use.
I love the alternate history 1920’s theme, and the art, minis etc really bring this out.
This is not a small game. You will need a large table to play on. Luckily our venue The White Lion has an amazing, easily 12 foot wooden table we are able to play on. Which easily accommodates a game the size of Scythe.
You’d think looking at the game that it was complicated and hard to learn. But oh no, this is very easy to learn and pick up. Plus between Watch It Played and Jamey Stegmaier’s YouTube videos you can be playing this without touching the rule book. But the rule book is pretty good, I found it clear and easy to follow. Unlike a couple of recently played games where we found the rule book lacking.
There are some nice little player aid cards that summarise turns, mech river crossing powers, even suggest for new players things to try on their first few turns. Plus there is a large player aid sheet too! Yeah I like this player support.
Surprisingly the game is rather quick to set up. The previously mentioned player boards with the cut outs definitely aid in this as does having information on individual player setups on the player and faction boards.
Having asynchronous player abilities, means there is a lot of replayability. Plus the unique abilities don’t seem over powered.
The taking an action and not being able to take the same one twice in a row (unless you have the character I was playing). Along with each action having two parts that you may or may not do, it’s up to you. It’s a really neat mechanism that gets you thinking about action order.
The upgrade mechanic is really nice. You take one cube from the top row on the player board and place it in an allowed spot in the bottom row. This has the effect of making that ability where the cube was from more rewarding when taken. And the bottom option where it was placed cheaper to take next time.
I like the enlist mechanics also a nice touch. You get a maximum of four of these recruits, each one when recruited gives an instant bonus, (you chose from the four available on your faction board, once taken it’s gone) plus then an on going bonus when ever a person on your right or left uses that ability. So it becomes important that you keep an eye on what other players are doing each turn.
I really like the factory mechanic. Get to the factory space and you are able to choose a factory card that gives you an extra action you can chose to take on your turn. You are only allowed one of these. So getting to the factory space first gives you the pick of the litter, and not having to choose scraps. However in our second game I wanted all three. It was really hard choosing just one.
When you do an event with your character it’s a joy. You get to first draw an event card and see a painting of beauty. Then you have to choose one of the three options (unless you have an ability that allows you to chose two like Jeffs faction did). The options tell a little story based on the scene depicted in the painting, and give a reward that might have a cost to it. A lot of time must have been spent crafting these little descriptions because they convey so much of the theme along with the painting. Genius.
Battles are rather cool. They are not the forgone conclusion you think they’d be. A combination of spending up to a maximum of 7 points (depending how many you have) and combat cards to boost the final score. With the highest final score winning. Very streamlined, very quick and easy.
Objectives add more replayability to the game. You get two at the start and can only complete one of them. These are random each game. In our second game I didn’t even attempt to complete mine.
It’s possible to end the game and still lose. Which is what happened in our second game. I was really going for it, completing stuff as quick as possible to get my stars out. My final two stars to get out and end the game were battles that I had to win. But at that point I had enough battle cards and points to get those victories.
But Jeff had better popularity than me, which along with having got buildings out in end game scoring positions, gave him just enough points to get the win.
Even losing both games I had a blast. The time flew by, it never felt like we had been playing for 3.5 hours or so.
This is an amazing game. Can’t wait to play it again. I do regret not backing this on Kickstarter. But I do have a Kickstarter special edition which is basically the basic game plus promos. To which I’ve pimped it out with the metal coins as you know. But I have the board extension on pre-order along with the expansion and new $50 metal coins that the expansion introduces.
Just go buy this you won’t regret it.